Uncovering Insights in Digital Patient Feedback | Binary Fountain

February 17, 2021

Uncovering Insights in Digital Patient Feedback

By: Andrew Rainey

patient feedback in healthcare

Historically patient feedback in healthcare was measured solely with CAHPS surveys. Now that’s changed.

Whether you work for a hospital, physician practice, or another type of healthcare organization, patient feedback is now scattered across multiple sources. This feedback can be collected from online reviews, social media, patient surveys and even call center data. The challenge is to make sense of all this information. Buried within these open-ended comments are meaningful insights that can be used to improve the patient experience and your organization’s reputation.

Patient Feedback in Healthcare Challenges

The need to quickly analyze feedback at scale is only becoming more vital. You need to follow the trend on this data as well as quickly drill down into the details to identify issues that need to be resolved. Even the online reviews and surveys one practice receives can be overwhelming to manage – and it can impact their business. So, what strategy will you adopt to gain value from patient feedback?

Arm Yourself with Healthcare-specific NLP

As scientific as it sounds, natural language processing (NLP) uncovers meaningful insights from everyday language that can be found in millions of online reviews, surveys, and other sources. Identifying and analyzing keywords and phrases in unstructured comments, along with the context of how they’re being used, can reveal useful information. NLP is one of the most powerful tools a system can use to understand and act on the patient experience.

Some NLP tools are designed to work across multiple industries, but we don’t recommend them for measuring patient experience. Patients are unique consumers using unique terms for services unlike any other.

For this reason, a one-size-fits-all approach doesn’t work well when it comes to the understanding of patient experience. Healthcare can learn valuable lessons from other industries, but feedback provided about a physician or specialist requires a more targeted NLP. It’s unlikely that NLP designed to analyze reviews for auto shops, retailers or restaurants would effectively hospitals, urgent care, and primary care clinics.

Binary Fountain took the approach of creating a healthcare-centric NLP from the ground up to understand the nuances of healthcare language. We break patient experience down into categories to help you draw specific and actionable insights.

Among these categories, insights from comments could be related to Timely Care, Patient Inclusion in Decision, and the Overall Experience while revealing their sentiment. Our NLP even allows you to drill down into the root cause of the issue, helping make this information actionable.

Our specialized NLP allows the healthcare system or practice to dig deep and identify the issue causing poor patient experience – and fix them. Ultimately, “the why” behind a review is the true value.

The Relationship Between Data and Reputation

In an era where nearly half of healthcare consumers use reviews to find care, your online reputation is more important than ever. Therefore, the only way to truly boost your reputation is by taking your ratings and reviews into account and acting upon them accordingly.

You should note, however, that a blanket number of aggregate star ratings will not help you make meaningful changes. Aggregate star ratings merely indicate an average of what people think of your business. Your star ratings and large data sets involving customer sentiment can give you a broader idea of how well you are doing. Note, however, that these ratings derive from individual feedback.

Individual customer reviews give you more nuanced data on what you are doing well and what can be improved. It is this feedback that gives you the ground-level information necessary to make operational changes and improve the patient experience.

Of course, whether or not you can make these changes depends upon how attuned you are to these reviews. If you are not aware of the reviews you receive, or you have no way of organizing, managing, and responding to them, these bits of small data become useless. You need proper customer engagement strategies and online review management solutions to read and reply to all feedback.

Healthcare organizations must monitor both the micro-level details and the broad view of their brand’s standing. Improvement in overall patient experiences happens at this intersection of big and small healthcare feedback analytics.

Use Patient Feedback in Healthcare to Take Action

Never miss out on an opportunity to build patient loyalty and create a better patient experience. Engaging your patients online or offline is key. Timely patient complaint service recovery could turn a bad review into a positive overall experience.

Physician engagement in online reputation is also key, as patient feedback is a learning moment. Providers and institutions can use feedback data to identify areas of improvement. Healthcare organizations like Temple University Health System are exemplary when it comes to making this data actionable. As a result, their patient experience scores and reputation management programs have improved.

Online Reviews Correlate to HCAHPS

CAHPS and HCAHPS surveys are another rich source of patient feedback and tend to correlate to online feedback. One previous Binary Fountain study found a strong, positive correlation (0.54 coefficient) between patient feedback scores calculated from unstructured online reviews and HCAHPS Top Box scores (overall rating domain).

This why effective healthcare NPS software must also capture survey feedback, such as HCAHPS, in addition to online feedback. Every additional source of feedback harvests new individual insights that could add up to massive improvement in patient experience.

Understand What’s Important to Your Patients

The answers toward improving the patient experience are in front of you. You already have a wealth of patient feedback, you only need to make sense of it. To take the next step, and you need tools created specifically for the healthcare environment to have a positive, meaningful impact on the patient experience.

Having a comprehensive view of patient metrics and insights can help you achieve valuable competitive advantages. Many healthcare organizations are already benchmarking their performance against other healthcare organizations. Healthcare is trending toward the consumer experience. The health systems that embrace this shift will find themselves winning new patients and building long-term loyalty.

Want to learn more about how Binary Fountain can improve your online reputation?

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About the Author

Andrew Rainey
EVP of Strategy & Corporate Development

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